Small Business Will Spend $2.2 Million on Content Marketing in 2016 (And What this Means for You)

Content marketing is kind of a big deal – in fact, 43 percent of the B2C industry consider themselves effective when using a content marketing strategy, and 86 percent of the B2B industry is already on board.

That’s a lot of support for a content marketing strategy. It’s not surprising that the small business industry will spend around $2.2 million dollars in 2016 supporting their own.

Content marketing is successful for a lot of reasons – one of the biggest is that it empowers the buyer to make their own decision. With the right content marketing strategy, you can promote your product, drive more traffic, and gain potential customer’s trust – all while leading them through the sales funnel to the checkout line.

There is no one-size-fits-all content marketing budget – you have to experiment, track your progress and budget for what’s most effective for you.

You can however use industry data as a benchmark for your own content strategy in order to set yourself up for success.

The Content Marketing Institute in partnership with MarketProfs and sponsorship by TrackMaven released two reports on the state of content marketing in 2015, for both the business-to-community (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) industries. Data from these reports coupled with overall small business and marketing trends will arm you with the benchmarks you need to build an effective content marketing budget for 2016.

Most SMBs should spend an average of $1,921.92 on content marketing in 2016.

content marketing budget


Content marketing is a much bigger project than most small businesses understand at first, but that’s only because it encompasses so many possible things.

As just a starter, content marketing can encompass any and all of the following:

  • Blogging
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • eBooks
  • Web Content
  • Social Media Content
  • Press Releases
  • Media Pitches
  • SEO

Not only does it encompass all of those different aspects of marketing, but they all tie together.

Your web content is what ultimately drives people to purchase your product. You’ve been nurturing those customers through information you gained after they filled out a form for a whitepaper, case study or eBook.

They heard about that whitepaper, case study or eBook through one of your many distribution channels – either through social media or public relations (PR) efforts.

Not all strategies work for all businesses, and how much you lean on certain aspects of content marketing will depend on your personal audience – but where you start depends on your marketing goals, and the budget you have to work with.

According to Quickbooks, the average yearly revenue of a small business with no employees is $44,000 per year. Of that $44,000, Gartner says you’ll spend $4,576 on marketing strategies.

“Companies spent on average 10.2% of their annual 2014 revenue on overall marketing, with 50% of companies planning to increase [in 2015] to an average of 10.4%.”

But what about content marketing in particular? The Content Marketing Institute reports say B2C businesses allocated 32 percent of that marketing budget to content marketing, while B2B businesses only allocated 28 percent.

They also say the most effective businesses allocated 42 percent – 10 to 14 percent more than both the B2C and B2B average.

What this means for you – B2C companies are currently sporting a content marketing success gap of $456.60, while B2B companies are currently $640.64 short. It’s time to up that content marketing budget.

What does this look like across the market? The most effective small businesses (revenue of about $50 million) will spend about $2.2 million in 2016 on content marketing.

The most effective content marketing budgets will range from $43,680 to $2,184,000 across the market in 2016.

content marketing budget

What exactly is a small business – the actual definition is a little vague depending on who you ask. The Quikbooks average was only at $44,000 revenue yearly, while the Gartner numbers are much higher.

Gartner defines the small business market as anything less than $50 million, while the midsize enterprise market can range from $50 million to $1 billion.

Based on this segmentation, here’s what content marketing budgets looked like in 2015, and what an optimally effective content marketing budget would look like in 2016 for both the small business and midsize enterprise markets:

content marketing budget

Here you can see what businesses spent on marketing in 2015, and what they allocated from that marketing budget to content marketing.

In bold, you can see what they should have allocated, based on the industry average of 42 percent (the most effective percentage of your marketing budget to spend on content).

The bottom line – the ‘spend’ gap is too big for both small business and midsize enterprise.

As businesses slowly discover the value of content marketing, they’re wrestling more of their marketing budget away from traditional methods and towards digital method – but it’s not goof enough to really grow their businesses the way they want to yet.

We’re not there yet – the market still needs to get its sea legs when it comes to content marketing.

In order to get there, SMBs need to not only have the right content marketing budget, but they need to allocate it correctly too. What type of content should you create to see the most success when you’re just starting out?

Spend most of your content creation budget on customer success stories.

content marketing budget

The list of stuff to spend your content marketing budget is really long – but according to the 2015 reports by CMI, customer stories are the really juicy content.

This is logical – a potential customer is more likely to buy your product (whether you’re targeting businesses or the average Joe), if they know that someone else has been successful prior to them.

CMI reported 82 percent of the B2Bs using case studies of their most effective method of content marketing, while B2C came right behind with blogging at 81 percent.

The disparity is due to the nature of the respective markets – a B2B buyer will generally be more interested in a one-sheeter or a case study, whereas a consumer shopping for a product will be more likely to stumble across a customer success story on a blog or internet article.

What does this mean for you?

content marketing budget

When you’re allocating your content marketing budget, you should spread out into all areas of content. Focus the bulk of your budget on customer success stories for the most success, as they drive the most leads and revenue across the market.

My top customer success story tip: talk to the customer directly, and convince them to go public with the fact that they love your product.

In business this is a bit more difficult, as legalities are often involved. B2C companies might find easier success, as customers are often already willing to talk about their favorite brands on social media and other outlets.

Use this conversation with your customers to create personalized and stellar content for distribution, and to drive more sales. Distribute it in the best place that works for you and your business.

Spend most of your distribution budget on a social media marketing strategy.

content marketing budget

Content marketing is worthless without distribution, and I mean worthless.

I know that sounds harsh, but the truth hurts sometimes. If you’re not going to put in the leg work to promote your content, then don’t bother budgeting for it.

The good news – promotion can be free. The only thing is costs is some of your time.

How should you spend your precious time (or that of your employees), and therefore your precious content marketing budget, when it comes to distributing the great content you’ve worked so hard to create?

CMI says social media wins hands down. When marketing, 93% of distribution is social media content, with illustration and photos being the biggest and best tactic to use in 2015 – they jumped from 69 percent to 76 percent last year.

While you’re driving people to your content, ask them to stay. Marketers ask visitors to subscribe to an eNewsletter 72 percent of the time, and to subscribe to a blog 56 percent of the time.

Build your budget based on your own success.

No matter how you decide to allocate your content marketing budget, remember that the industry benchmark might not be what’s best for you.

Take some time and invest in finding the right audience for you online. When you find the right voice, and the right audience to speak to, you’ll start driving quality website traffic that will convert into leads and sales.

For more information on how you can build the best content marketing budget for your business, contact your leading content marketing agency in New Jersey (NJ).

content marketing budget

Here at Creative Click Media, we specialize in improving small business with better content marketing. If you’re interested in talking about how an SEO and content strategy can help grow your business, contact us.


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